Offensive Outburst Fuels Rout

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Raquel Rodriguez

Sophomore forward Andre' Akpan tallied three points against the Stags, recording two goals and an assist and extending his goals-scored streak to six games.

In its final tuneup before the start of the Ivy League season, No. 11 Harvard (7-1-1) defeated Fairfield (5-2-1), 5-0, on Saturday at Ohiri Field.

“It was a great performance,” junior Michael Fucito said. “Overall, the team did great. [Fairfield] only let in three goals throughout the season [before this game], and we just scored five on them, so that’s a pretty good day.”

The Crimson dominated the entirety of the game, putting constant pressure on the Stags’ defense and creating the majority of the scoring opportunities.

Despite controlling play in the first half, Harvard was only able to convert on one of those chances.

The lone first-half score, which would prove to be the game-winner, was recorded in the 18th minute when sophomore Andre’ Akpan threaded a pass to Fucito, who tapped the ball into an unguarded net.

“We did so well defensively that we were able to transition at the offense very well, and we had a lot of chances,” head coach John Kerr said. “In the first half, we didn’t execute as well as we should have, and after we had a talk at half time, we came out and made sure we made the most of our opportunities.”

Leading the way after the break was Fucito once again, who wasted no time in finding the back of the net just five minutes into the second half.

Fucito’s second goal of the afternoon, his sixth of the year, came after sophomore Chey Im connected with a streaking Fucito from midfield. Fucito received the pass, and his near-post shot beat the keeper.

The two-goal lead put the game out of Fairfield’s reach, but the Crimson was just getting started. The final 30 minutes saw Harvard score three more times.

Freshman Alex Chi’s brilliant solo run down the left wing resulted in a goal in the 63rd minute.

“I thought Chi did really well today,” Kerr said. “He was a workhorse and created a lot of opportunities for himself, and his teammates and I were so happy for him that he scored that goal.”

Akpan scored the Crimson’s final two goals in the 71st and 77th minutes of the game.

The first came off assists from Fucito and co-captain Matt Hoff, while sophomore Brian Grimm, who had just been substituted into the game, assisted on the second. Akpan’s sixth and seventh goals of the season moved him into the team lead. He has now scored in six straight games.

“I thought we had a good game, and our team played well,” Akpan said. “That allowed me to put a few in the back of the net.”

The Crimson will look to take its momentum into Saturday’s Ivy opener at Cornell.

“It feels great going to that game after the performance today and the performance last week against Santa Barbara,” Chi said. “So we’re pretty excited about that.”